Motorsport world in shock over horrific death of Formula One figure

·Sports Reporter
Spa Franchorchamps CEO Nathalie Maillet is being mourned by the F1 and motorsport world after her tragic death earlier this week. Picture: Circuit de Spa Franchorchamps
Spa Franchorchamps CEO Nathalie Maillet is being mourned by the F1 and motorsport world after her tragic death earlier this week. Picture: Circuit de Spa Franchorchamps

The Formula 1 and wider motorsport world is mourning the death of Nathalie Maillet, the chief of the Spa Franchorchamps circuit in Belgium.

Maillet's body was found in her home along with that of another woman, as well as her husband.

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Belgian authorities believe Maillet and the other woman were shot by her husband, who died by suicide soon after.

A statement from the police prosecutor from the Belgian province of Luxembourg detailed the theory.

“At 00:10, the bodies of two women and one man were discovered by the police in a house in Gouvy, all three presenting gunshot wounds,” the statement said.

“According to our information, the male individual voluntarily used his firearm to kill both women, including his wife, before killing himself.”

Maillet's death sent shockwaves through the motorsport community, with tributes flowing for the highly regarded CEO.

The 51-year-old was praised for her work, in a statement released by the Spa Franchorchamps circuit, which she became CEO of in 2016.

"It is with great sadness that the team of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit have been informed of the death of Nathalie Maillet, CEO," read the statement.

"On this very sad day, the whole staff wish to present their most sincere condolences to Nathalie's family and friends.

"The circuit, but also motor racing, has lost today a passionate woman, strong in her convictions and always looking to the future."

Maillet was described as a 'true leader' by Spa Franchorchamps chairman Melchior Wathelet.

"My thoughts are with Nathalie's family, her parents, her loved ones and her teams," he said.

"Today, we are losing a highly respected lady, a true leader who will be greatly missed. Nathalie had become the face of the circuit, she embodied the passion for racing that we all share.”

The scene of Nathalie Maillet's death, pictured here in Belgium.
Three people were found dead in a house in the early hours of Sunday, one of which was chairwoman of the Spa-Francorchamps race track Nathalie Maillet. (Photo by ANTHONY DEHEZ/Belga/Sipa USA)

Motorsport world shocked by murder of beloved figure

Formula 1, which will resume with the Belgian GP at Spa on August 29, put out a statement of their own praising Maillet and mourning her loss.

"We are deeply saddened by the awful news that our friend Nathalie Maillet has died," the statement read. 

"The whole of Formula 1 sends its deepest condolences to her family and friends. 

"The motorsport community has lost an incredible person and we will all miss her greatly." 

Maillet was a trained architect who was passionate about motorsport, enjoying a career behind the wheel before putting her skills to use at the Spa Franchorchamps circuit.

The motorsport world is mourning Nathalie Maillet, the CEO of the Spa Franchorchamps racing circuit in Belgium which hosts Formula One. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
The motorsport world is mourning Nathalie Maillet, the CEO of the Spa Franchorchamps racing circuit in Belgium which hosts Formula One. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

The circuit first held a Grand Prix race in 1925 and has hosted Formula One every year since 1985, with Maillet central in efforts to upgrade the circuit since she was elected CEO in 2016.

Her death sent shockwaves through the industry, with her counterpart at France's Le Mans circuit, Pierre Fillon, devatsated.

"We are particularly shocked and upset by this news. We were in regular contact over the past few years, in particular in relation to the FIA World Endurance Championship," he said.

"Nathalie was passionate about motorsport and spared no effort in defending our causes. 

"On behalf of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, I extend our heartfelt condolences to her friends and family and to the staff of Spa-Francorchamps. They can count on our support in this difficult time."

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